HAMPSHIRE Constabulary is set to become the first force in the country to equip every police officer with controversial, body-worn cameras.

The Home Office has awarded Hampshire Constabulary more than £360,000 to expand the use of the hi-tech cameras which will be issued to all officers and police community support officers.

The gadgets capture clear and crisp video and audio footage from crime scenes that can be uploaded within seconds.

The £362,800 from the Home Office is a share of £4m from the Police Innovation Fund, which has been split between eight forces.

Hampshire's Chief Constable Andy Marsh, who is also the national policing lead for the kit, said: “Body-worn video can contribute to policing in many ways, not least as a piece of kit that supports and improves cases going to court - really telling the story of what has happened in a way many juries may not have appreciated before.”

The cameras are overt pieces of equipment, with officers duty-bound to inform those being recorded that their actions are being taped for evidence which may be used to support criminal prosecutions.